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Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School

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WMU-Cooley transforms students into outstanding lawyers. Our challenging academic programs blend rigorous classes and practical legal experiences to ready students for the bar exam, the courtroom, and the practice of law.

With campuses in Florida and Michigan, day, night, and weekend programs, and year-round start options, we give students the opportunity to study law on their terms, at their pace, in a way that meets their unique goals.

Our faculty combine significant experience practicing law with a love of teaching, providing individualized mentoring and feedback.

Our student body mirrors our diverse world. Our students learn in a welcoming, supportive environment that prepares them to practice law in diverse settings and communities.

Our strong culture of service emphasizes giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Our legal clinics and more than 3,000 externship sites worldwide provide WMU-Cooley students with vast opportunities to learn the law while making a difference in the lives of others.

Challenging Academics and Faculty Committed to Students

WMU-Cooley’s broad-based required curriculum provides a solid foundation to prepare you for law practice. Our rigorous curriculum, taught by faculty committed to students, creates an exceptional learning environment.

WMU-Cooley faculty members are experienced attorneys and teachers. Their legal experience and commitment to student success set them apart. Our professors base their teaching on extensive professional experience, averaging 13 years of law practice before entering the classroom. Imagine coming to WMU-Cooley to learn criminal law from a professor who was a prosecutor for 20 years—or learning about national security from a retired Brigadier General and former US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense.

Focus Your Curriculum

The Juris Doctor is one of the most versatile degrees you can earn, and WMU-Cooley’s curriculum allows you to focus your studies to fit your interests and career goals. Whether you are interested in specializing in areas such as environmental law, intellectual property, business, sports and entertainment law, or civil rights, you can tailor your curriculum to accomplish your goals.

View a complete list of law specialty concentrations.

Prepared for Law Practice

What does it really mean to be “practice ready”? At WMU-Cooley, the answer is clear—since its beginning, the law school has provided opportunities to put students into practice. Our required curriculum and strong skills program, coupled with thousands of opportunities to apply those skills, will set you apart and give you confidence to be an attorney from day one.

WMU-Cooley students are required to choose a real-life lawyering experience to complete their legal education. In fact, we were one of the first schools in the country to require a clinical experience, either in an externship or an in-house clinic. We provide many options to fulfill this requirement.

In-House Clinics (on or near campus)

  • Access to Justice
  • Debt Relief Clinic
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law Assistance Project
  • WMU-Cooley Innocence Project
  • Public Defender Clinics
  • Sixty Plus Inc. Elderlaw Clinic


Students gain valuable experience by participating with an experienced lawyer at one of WMU-Cooley’s 3,000-plus externship sites worldwide. The externship program is a partnership between students, practicing attorneys, and faculty. Students may earn up to 10 academic credits for work that they perform under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

A Student Body That Mirrors a Diverse World

WMU-Cooley believes lawyers and judges should mirror the rich diversity found in the communities they serve. A diverse student body contributes to a more vital, well-rounded, and empathetic legal profession.

Students who attend WMU-Cooley come from across the nation and around the world. Their backgrounds and perspectives create a dynamic, open, and uniquely stimulating learning environment. This enriches the educational and professional experiences of every graduate.

Great Law School, Great Locations

WMU-Cooley enables you to choose the perfect setting and lifestyle for your law school experience by offering multiple campus locations. With campuses in Florida and Michigan, the best way to be sure which one is right for you is to visit. Schedule a tour on our website.


  • Grand Rapids
  • Lansing
  • Tampa Bay
  • Kalamazoo: In 2016–2017 the law school opened a new location and offered part of the JD program in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on the main campus of Western Michigan University. This enables students to capitalize on the rich culture and resources found at a major research university. Students complete the rest of their JD curriculum at a campus of their choice. For more detailed information, contact

Flexible Schedule Options

WMU-Cooley offers a 12-month academic year consisting of three 15-week semesters. Students have the option of beginning their enrollment in September, January, or May. No matter when students start, they will be taught by the same full-time faculty and will have to meet the same graduation requirements.

WMU-Cooley’s program is ideal for students who plan to work while attending law school, as well as for traditional law students who typically begin in September and take summers off. Students may also choose to complete their entire legal education by taking classes solely on the weekend or by joining our two-year accelerated program. Flexible schedule options include

  • start in September, January, or May
  • the nation’s first weekend program
  • weekend blended learning program format featuring 10 weeks each semester on campus and four weeks online
  • part-time and full-time schedule options
  • two to five years to complete a JD degree


  • Affording Law School: WMU-Cooley continually tries to find ways to reduce the cost of legal education. We reward academic achievement with generous scholarships.
  • Merit Scholarships:  WMU-Cooley’s generous policy is unique because it allows students to earn a 10-100% tuition scholarship that is applied to all 90 credits required for graduation (as long as you are in good academic standing, not on probation, and maintain a 2.5 or higher law school GPA after earning 45 credits).
  • Class Rank Scholarships:  WMU-Cooley students, both current and transfer, who complete a specific number of hours are eligible for scholarships from 10-50 percent based on their academic achievement.
  • Assistance: All students have access to an Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator who can help them explore financial aid options and loan repayment plans.

NOTE: The law school reserves the right to change, eliminate or add to, without notice, the admissions requirements, schedules, policies, practices, programs, procedures, tuition/scholarship, and fees.

Student Life and Student Organizations

Students have ample opportunities to pursue their interests and improve their skills while serving their communities. Students have the ability to expand leadership skills and develop lasting relationships with each other through involvement in our Leaders Academy and 50 chartered student organizations. Students might be interested in representing the voices of their fellow students through the Student Bar Association; participating in organizations such as the Black Law Students Association; or exploring the intersections of faith and the law in the Muslim, Christian, or Jewish student groups. WMU-Cooley has numerous student organizations related to sports law, intellectual property law, criminal law, and a variety of other subjects.


WMU-Cooley consistently fields successful teams in national skills competitions. Our teams have twice earned top honors and the national title at the ABA Client-Counseling Competition, later representing the United States at the world competition. Our students have also earned “top oral advocate” honors at national moot court competitions.

Scholarly Journals

Students gain valuable writing experience by serving on the school’s Law Review or Journal of Practical and Clinical Law. Students earning an LLM in Homeland and National Security Law can serve on the Homeland and National Security Law Review.

Study-Abroad Programs

Students can broaden their legal education by studying at various locations around the world. WMU-Cooley conducts programs in

  • Australia/New Zealand
  • Münster, Germany
  • Oxford, England
  • Toronto, Canada

Commitment to Service

WMU-Cooley offers opportunities for students to learn the law while making a difference in the lives of others. Students, faculty, and staff generously serve their communities and others around the nation, contributing thousands of hours of free legal services each year through pro bono projects, externships, and clinics. Recent service projects include

  • hurricane and disaster relief
  • mentoring high school students
  • supporting children’s literacy programs
  • veteran assistance programs
  • peacemaking and restorative justice programs

Career and Professional Development

Professional career advisors assist students and alumni with achieving their career goals by providing a multitude of personalized services, including

  • career exploration and job-seeking skills workshops
  • on-campus interview programs
  • résumé and cover letter review
  • a career resource library
  • mock-interview programs
  • job fairs and conference listings
  • distinguished guest speaker series
  • web-based state, regional, and national job listings for students and graduates
  • volunteer opportunities—matching law-related organizations with law students who seek substantive volunteer experience

Dual-Degree Programs

WMU-Cooley has dual-degree programs with institutions of higher learning. The programs provide students with the opportunity to earn a Juris Doctor degree and a master’s degree in several subject areas. JD students may also apply for our JD/LLM degree program, which allows JD students to get a jump-start on a master of laws degree.

Master of Laws (LLM) Degrees

WMU-Cooley offers graduate legal education programs in Tax, Intellectual Property Law, Corporate Law and Finance, Homeland and National Security Law, and US Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys. Many of the LLM programs are offered online.

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Contact Information

Grand Rapids, MI, Campus

111 Commerce Avenue Southwest
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616.301.6800

Kalamazoo, MI, Location

1903 W. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Phone: 517.371.5140, ext. 5500

Lansing, MI, Campus

300 S. Capitol Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

Phone: 517.371.5140, ext. 2244

Tampa Bay, FL, Campus

9445 Camden Field Parkway
Riverview, FL 33578

Phone: 813.419.5100

Toll-free: 800.874.3511
ABA Data:

Applicant Profile

The goal of WMU-Cooley’s admission process is to provide broad access to those who seek the opportunity to study law, while requiring those to whom that opportunity is offered to meet the law school’s rigorous academic standards.